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HU ready to provide advice, help

February 29, 2012
There comes a time when many people need advice and assistance when deciding what is in the best interest of aging parents or what services are available to those with health issues. Hoosier Uplands has been helping people deal with those decisions and issues for years. And they're still doing it.

Greg Tanner, of Hoosier Uplands' Aging and Disability Resource Center, recently set up a temporary information table at the Crawford County Public Library in English and offers free help and advice on Thursdays. The table is covered with a selection of brochures and pamphlets that give information on everything from home health care and hospice to services for the elderly and disabled.

"We get a lot of questions like, 'My elderly mother is home from the hospital, and she's not able to move around, so what services are available to help us?'," Tanner said. "We take their information — and we can do that from a family member, as well — do the paperwork and then, after doing an assessment and determining what they qualify for, we can direct them to a program like our Family Caregiver. And there is no waiting list for this. If they are eligible, we can direct them to numerous resources. Just one call to us can get them the help they need."

The agency serves those who are facing the loss of independence due to age or disability and provides a diverse range of services to the disabled and elderly residents of Crawford, Orange, Washington and Lawrence counties.

When clients need additional assistance, the Aging and Disability Resource Center will offer Long-Term Support Options Counseling, an interactive decision-support process whereby consumers, family members or significant others are supported in their deliberations to determine long-term care choices.

The agency's annual report states there are multiple services available for homebound clients including: home health aide, homemaker, attendant care, respite, adult day care, home-delivered meals, transportation, skilled nursing care, durable medical equipment, assistive technology, home modifications and personal emergency response systems.

The funding sources allocated to provide those services include: Social Services Block Grant, Community and Home Option to Institutional Care for the Elderly and Disabled, Medicaid waiver and Title III funds. In addition, the family caregiver grant funding under Title IIIE can provide respite for clients older than 60 with a full-time caregiver. It can also provide supplemental services such as home-delivered meals, homemaker and medical supplies. There are 13 senior center/congregate nutrition sites within the four counties the agency serves.

Legal service also is available to individuals age 60 and older. In 2011, 124.55 hours were provided for such things as power of attorney, guardianship, wills and general legal advice.

"If a person is released from the hospital and a doctor orders a home nurse, we can teach a family member to help with that," Tanner said. "When someone calls in and needs services, we give them options, more to choose from. We make every effort to keep up with the needs of the community. We are usually one of the sources that hospitals will refer people to, and we use every resource we can."

Hoosier Uplands also has The Angel Foundation, a nine-year-old program that grants wishes to terminally ill clients who are 18 or older and have a projected life span of one year or less. The Foundation fulfilled four requests last year.

Hoosier Uplands also makes an effort to bridge the gap where funds are not available. One of the programs is the Wheelchair Loan Program. Each outreach office is equipped with wheelchairs to loan for a short period of time. There is no charge for the service. There is also a video library with videos to loan on health, family care giving and general information.

One of the goals of the agency is to assist individuals to remain as independent as possible in a home environment. When it becomes apparent that the individuals need 24-hour care in a nursing facility, the Pre-Admission Screening Program, a federally-mandated program, assists families in determining whether or not nursing home placement is appropriate and, if necessary, helps with facilitating the placement.

"We have a wide scope of services," Tanner said, "and those include help for children, middle-aged people and the elderly. We have sources that can help with utility bills and even gas expenses for doctor visits. We train two or three times a year, and that training helps us help people. Many people don't know what services are available to them, and many don't know an agency like ours even exists. But helping people find assistance is our job."

Tanner will be at the Crawford County Public Library every Thursday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. through mid-March. He can be reached at 1-812-849-4457 or 1-800-333-2451.

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